Over 52% of US adolescents report experiencing depression, meaning many of your younger employees or employees’ dependents could be impacted. Depression symptoms are increasing in prevalence rapidly, with rates more than doubling since the pandemic. Left unaddressed, adolescent depression can lead to the development of other costly diseases — known as comorbid conditions (conditions that occur at the same time) — that can have negative impacts on adolescents as they move into adulthood.
Offering support for depression early is necessary
Employers must prioritize addressing adolescent depression before the condition escalates — for the sake of employees’ and their families’ health, most importantly, and also because of the cost-saving potential.
That’s why Big Health delivers Spark Direct, the only evidence-based digital program for those 13+ with depression. Spark Direct teaches cognitive and behavioral techniques that allow adolescents to improve their mood. In real-world use, 45% of users experience meaningful improvements in mood.1
Here, we’ll share some common depression-related comorbidities we’re seeing in adults that can occur if adolescent depression is left unaddressed.
Insomnia is one of the most common comorbid conditions associated with depression — those with depression are 6.7x more likely to develop insomnia. Insomnia can lead to a hefty price tag for employers and cost over $20,000 per year2 in added workplace costs like absenteeism, presenteeism, and accidents. Additionally, employees struggling with insomnia have an 8x greater risk of being involved in workplace accidents.
Depression can have an impact on physical health as well. Those with depression are 14% more likely to develop heart disease. As the leading cause of death in the US, heart disease poses a serious threat to employee health outcomes. In addition, heart disease can drive costs of nearly $20,000 per year per employee in health care costs.
Another disease that impacts millions of people in the US is diabetes. As you may already know, diabetes isn’t cheap — the condition can cost employers up to $10,000 a year in healthcare costs per employee. And, you guessed it — those with depression are 60% more likely to develop diabetes.
Those with depression are also 4x more likely to report chronic pain. In addition to concerns of lost productivity and absenteeism, chronic pain can cost employers over $8,000 per employee in added costs.
The key takeaway for HR and benefits leaders
Given the alarming statistics above, it’s clear that depression and its many commonly occurring comorbid conditions can have a massive impact on your workforce’s health. Unfortunately, these are only a few comorbid conditions associated with low mood.
By adding an evidence-based program for adolescent depression like Spark Direct to your toolkit, you can provide tools for improving the physical and mental health of your organization and their families, so your workforce can focus on what matters most.
Request a demo for Spark Direct today.
1. Internal Data. (2023). 2. Internal Data (2023).
Spark Direct is a digital program that may help individuals live well with major depressive disorder (MDD) and symptoms of depression by providing them with cognitive and behavioral techniques that can improve mood. Spark Direct has not been reviewed or approved by the Food & Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please read the instructions for use.
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